ASKe Pedagogy Research Centre

Providing the evidence for learning and teaching development.

Pedagogy research is a key factor in underpinning teaching excellence and the Faculty of Business has a strong commitment to engaging in research and evidence-based practice. The ASKe Pedagogy Research Centre, led by Professor Margaret Price, regularly attracts external funding through commissions and competitive grants to undertake research on teaching, learning and assessment. This research feeds directly into practice within our business programmes as well being used to encourage innovation and foster evidence-based practice within Oxford Brookes University, and the broader Higher Education sector. It is unusual for a Business School to benefit directly from learning and teaching development in this way.

There are two research clusters within the Centre:

1. Assessment, assessment standards and assessment literacy in higher education

Initially growing from a practical project focused on assessment standards in the Business School with large student numbers and a diverse discipline base, Professor Margaret Price and Berry O'Donovan have developed this area of research. The research has contributed to the now well established and global discussions about the nature of standards and how, in practice, these can be understood and used effectively through the development of assessment literacy among staff and students.

Research in this cluster is focused on assessment of student learning, assessment literacy and feedback including, but not limited to, methods of achieving greater consistency in marking standards, socio cultural perspectives on academic communities in relation to assessment, student engagement in the assessment and feedback process.

2. Responsible management education

The 2008 financial crisis focussed attention on management education and its effects on how business is practised. A recent Carnegie report and the United Nations' Principles for Responsible Management Education (PRME) initiative imply that management education has a particular social responsibility which is currently unfulfilled and that students should be equipped to look beyond their own careers to a concern with their future as professionals and citizens. This cluster, led by Dr Jill Millar, is interested in research relating to the following themes:

  • The role of management education in a globalised world
  • The normative foundations and social responsibilities of management education
  • The impact of normative initiatives on pedagogical practice
  • Critical understandings of the purpose and practice of Business Schools

Influencing teaching and learning in the Faculty of Business

  • Face-to-face feedback. This initiative supported staff in running face-to-face feedback sessions at strategic points in undergraduate programmes.
  • Use of vivas in business education. This action learning project, looking at the use and effects of vivas in undergraduate learning, encompasses our work on dialogue in learning and assessment.
  • Assessment literacy. Student audio diaries were used to uncover the extent of assessment literacy and factors that aid its development for both postgraduate and undergraduate students. This data is used to develop and embed initiatives in all Faculty of Business programmes.
  • 'Good' and 'bad' feedback - what are the differences? This project explored undergraduate students' perspectives on what makes 'good' feedback good. The findings are informing both feedback practice and pre-assessment student preparation.
  • Supporting group work. Using a literature review of assessment of group work, the Centre has developed a policy on group work that seeks to ensure fair and robust assessment in all Faculty of Business programmes.
  • Student involvement and learning communities. The Centre was instrumental in establishing student involvement initiatives such as Peer Assisted Learning, the Module Assistant Scheme and Casual Technical Advisors. Evidence of the effectiveness of the scheme has prompted their extension into the rest of the University.
  • Transitions to, within and from HE. Using extensive data collected students, the Centre has provided the Faculty with greater insight into the needs of new students, those meeting higher level academic demands, and those making career choices after graduation. This has enabled them to develop programmes that support student needs.

Impact

The impact of the Centre is widespread and influences learning and teaching practice around the world. Members are frequently invited to influence development of assessment and feedback strategy and contribute to high level discussions on policy and practice at both national and institutional level.

For example:

  • Considering the nature of assessment standards with the national Australian quality body as well as inputting into UK government understandings through the Innovation, Universities Science and Skills Select Committee 'Students and Universities'.
  • Contributing to the international research community through its high quality, peer-reviewed research publications
  • Providing the HEA with an evidence-based framework for an assessment review tool (A Marked Improvement) aimed at transforming assessment in higher education for managers and programme teams across the UK.
  • Within Brookes, working with managers and students to develop, introduce and evaluate an 'Assessment Compact' identifying a comprehensive set of tenets and principles to guide assessment and feedback practice within the institution and thereby enhancing the student experience of assessment and feedback.
  • Contributing and facilitating the Association of Business School's programme for the development of directors of learning and teaching impacting on strategy and practice in many UK business schools.

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